How to Complete a
Pantry Intervention

pantry items

How to Perform a Pantry Intervention

A pantry purge will get rid of any items that might harm your memory and brain function. What follows may seem extreme, but this is an ideal purge. Your life will still have celebrations and moments of indulgence. Factor those into your purge. You might also have food from companies that specialize in healthy, organic, non-GMO foods properly packaged with very little sugar. If you’ve done your research and feel safe with these foods, include those as well.

Just bear in mind that the more of these less-than-healthy foods you remove now, however, the smoother your pathway to better health will be—a freeway rather than a rutted, country road.

Remove From Your Shelves

Unhealthy oils

These include vegetable oil, canola, corn, peanut, soybean, and sunflower oil. They have to many omega-6 fatty acids and contribute to inflammation and oxidation (rusting) in your cells. Olive oil, avocado, walnut, grapeseed, and culinary algae oil are good alternatives. Some people recommend coconut oil and ghee (oil removed from butter), but use these with caution. They are high in saturated fat. Store these oils in cool, dark places.

Foods packaged in a box

Biscuit, cake, and brownie mixes, macaroni and cheese, pancake mixes, stuffing, breakfast cereals, crackers, Pop-tarts, Jell-o and pudding mixes, microwave popcorn, Ramen noodles, breakfast bars, cookies, white pasta, quick-cooking rice. Although convenient, these often use unhealthy fats and too much sugar and salt.

Pre-made snacks 

Chips, pretzels, prepared popcorn, and trail mix. Although comforting and fun, these foods are highly addictive so banish them from your home. Keep your nuts, but purchase low-salt nuts in the future.

Foods packaged in cans

Many have BPA or an equally harmful substitute.  Avoid buying cans in the future.

All artificial sweeteners and any foods artificially sweetened

Processed sauces and condiments

Salad dressings, barbecue sauces, mayonnaise, bottled marinades, and most condiments. You can make versions at home using healthy oils and other ingredients with limited sodium.

White bread, rolls, and bagels

Opt for 100% whole grain breads.

Jams and jellies, and other sweet toppings

Candies, milk chocolate, and other sweets

Of course! Dark chocolate (86% cocoa or more) are an exception. They have good flavonoids.


Oatmeal (old fashioned or stone ground), farro, amaranth, and millet for hot cereal; quinoa; lentil, chickpea and black bean pastas (for a special treat); dried and canned beans and lentils; chia, sunflower, pumpkin, and ground flax seeds; some people would keep honey and pure maple syrup (using these is somewhat controversial and not advisable for diabetics); sardines and skipjack tuna; low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock; and foods from health-conscious brands you have investigated and trust. These companies should be quick to respond to your questions and be transparent in their answers.

From Your Freezer

All frozen pre-made meals

Including frozen dinners, pizzas, pasta, and ethnic foods.

All desserts

Ice cream, ice cream treats, cakes, cookies, pies, mini-eclairs, cream puffs, turnovers, cheesecakes, and especially non-dairy whipped toppings.

All frozen potatoes

French fries, hash browns, tots, home fries.

Frozen breakfast foods

Pancakes, French toast, waffles, sandwiches, frozen sausages and bacon.

Frozen meatless options

These are processed foods, too.

All fried snacks

Pizza bites, egg rolls, taquitos, jalapeno poppers, cheese puffs, and others.

Most breads

Texas toast, garlic bread, biscuits, cinnamon rolls, rolls. Opt for whole-grain sprouted breads.

Jams and jellies and other sweet toppings (some are frozen)

Grain-fed meats and poultry

Opt for “grass-fed and finished,” which means the livestock has been fed on  grass throughout their lives.


Organic frozen fruits and vegetables.

Remove From Your Refrigerator

Get rid of harmful drinks

Sweetened and unsweetened soft drinks, fruit juices, sugared drinks of any kind, non-dairy creamers.

Be careful with dairy products

These include sugared or low-fat yogurt, processed cheeses, cheesecakes, and packaged puddings. Instead, opt for full-fat milk and yogurt. Consider using unsweetened almond milk instead of cow’s milk.

Get rid of processed meats

Lunch meats, bacon, sausages, and hot dogs.


Get rid of it and never buy any more!


Take a hard look at these, including mayonnaise, barbecue sauce, and ketchup. Many have sugar. Mustard is considered healthy.

Take another hard look at alcohol

Because alcohol is toxic to your body, these drinks put stress on your liver and contribute to brain cell death. If you must drink alcohol, treat it as a rare indulgence.

Ready-to-bake dough

Such as for cookies, cinnamon rolls, and biscuits. They are full of unhealthy fats and sugar.

Grain-fed meats and poultry

Opt for “grass-fed and finished,” which means the livestock has been fed on grass throughout its life.